In the first chapter of Second Peter is given instruction of special value to those who desire to attain the highest success in the Christian life. . . .
[He] declares: “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.”
This scripture will bear much study. “Through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,” grace and peace are to be multiplied unto us. We grow in grace in proportion as we advance in a knowledge of heavenly things.
My dear young Christian friends, it is your privilege to gain a knowledge of God and of His Word. Daily you may grow in grace and in a knowledge of the truth. And as you add grace to grace, God promises to multiply His mercies unto you.
But there is an earnest work for you to do, as laborers together with God, if you would perfect a Christian character. Influences for evil are so prevalent in the world, that we cannot hope to attain perfection in our own strength. Only as we cooperate with God, shall we be able to advance. Abundant provision has been made for us to lay hold on divine strength. The apostle declares: “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
The Savior, during His life on the earth, was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. In Him the weakness of humanity was united with the strength of divinity. Because He experienced the temptations of humanity, He knows how to succor all who are tempted; because His humanity was united with divinity, every young man, every young woman, who chooses to follow in His footsteps may be a partaker of the divine nature, and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.
The high and holy privilege of overcoming as Jesus overcame, through power imparted from above, is given to those who conscientiously do all in their power to cooperate with the Source of their strength. When sorely tempted, Christ made use of His knowledge of Scripture. He met Satan with the words, “It is written.” And so the apostle exhorts us, as followers of Christ:
“Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We cannot be too diligent in studying God’s Word; for this is the foundation of our faith. And yet, sad to say, many fail on this very point, so vital to all Christian growth. To some, the Word of God is an unknown Book.
We are living in an age when reading matter is abundant and cheap. The perfecting of the printing press has made possible the rapid multiplication of the printed page. This was intended by the Lord to be a blessing to the world; but it has been perverted by many into a curse. A steady stream of trashy literature is pouring forth from hundreds of presses, and is flooding the world like a great, desolating tidal wave, sweeping before it everything that has not been firmly anchored to the truth of God’s Word.
Much of this trashy reading matter is published in an attractive form, and finds its way readily into thousands upon thousands of homes. Those whose principles are not firmly fixed are often allured by the inviting pages, and the result is liable to be a distinct spiritual loss. The mind is filled with sentiments and scenes originated by the enemy of our souls; God and His truth are too often lost sight of, and His name is dishonored by those who claim to be His children.
My dear youth, you cannot afford to imperil your souls by heeding the voice of the tempter when he presents before you an alluring story to read. Is it not your desire that “an entrance shall be administered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? Then flee from the tempter. Give Satan no chance to harass you continually with temptation to read novels and story magazines.
In apostolic times, those who were converted at Ephesus brought together their magical books, and burned them up. I would that all the cheap, trashy literature in every home might be burned up! You cannot do better, my dear young friends, than to burn everything that would tempt you to indulge in the reading of fictitious stories. Turn from this cheap literature, to that which will give you spiritual strength. Partake of the bread of life—the Word of the living God. “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
To us, as well as His disciples of old, Jesus has declared: “He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. . . .
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life: and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” . . .
Jesus then explained that he had spoken with reference to the importance of the Scriptures. “It is the spirit that quickeneth,” He declared; “the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
In the early years of the third angel’s message, many of the believers were young in years, but they learned to study God’s Word with prayerful earnestness; and as they grew older, they became a mighty power for good. Their knowledge of the Scriptures enabled them to labor for souls in the days of their youth and early manhood. They did not think that because they were young, they could not understand God’s Word. As they wrestled with difficult passages, and sought God for understanding, light shone forth from the sacred page, and the foundation of our faith was established in their hearts. Later, when these young men met every species of error, nothing could shake their confidence. They were anchored within the vail. Their faith in the Bible was substantiated by a personal knowledge of the One who inspired the Word.